If the price tag for the holiday meal is on your mind, these tips for a budget friendly Thanksgiving will come in handy. No matter your budget, there are ways to put a delicious, memorable Thanksgiving meal – with turkey as the centerpiece – on the table!

Tips for a Budget Friendly Thanksgiving

Plan Ahead: This is our top tip! Planning ahead allows you to scope out holiday deals and special discounts at local grocery stores. Check out newspaper circulars or online coupons to know when to shop. Grocery stores often offer special discounts or deals featuring turkey. Don’t leave your grocery shopping until the last minute, especially when it comes to the turkey. Otherwise, you may be left with fewer options.

Make a List: Make a list and stick to it! This is part of planning ahead and will help you stay under budget. Going to the store without a list often leads to buying things you don’t need or duplicative ingredients (hello, three containers of nutmeg in the cupboard!).

Buy What You Need: Along those lines, know what size turkey you need! Want leftovers? Go bigger. And take a look at our leftovers inspiration below. If you’re looking for something smaller, try a turkey breast or other cuts. We can help you calculate just how much turkey you need to serve your crew!

Use All of the Turkey: Don’t throw out those “extra” turkey parts that come with your whole bird. The neck and giblets can be used for a rich, flavorful gravy or a simple turkey stock!

Share the Responsibility: You don’t have to do it all! Save your budget by asking guests to bring a side or dessert to share. Who knows – you may find a new favorite Thanksgiving dish!

Keep it Simple: You don’t have to recreate a magazine spread. A delicious meal for family and friends can be simple. Turkey, a few key sides and a dessert are all you need. Want a fall-themed table for less? Collecting leaves or acorns from the backyard makes for free table decorations!

thanksgiving turkey on table

Leftovers for the Win

If you’re looking to make the most of your meal, it’s all about the leftovers. Thanksgiving isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. Take advantage of extra turkey to whip up more meals! Looking for an easy post-Thanksgiving brunch? Thanksgiving Turkey Frittata and Leftover Turkey Hash deliver. If comfort food is on the menu, try a classic Turkey Pot Pie or Leftover Turkey Split Pea Soup. For a twist on the traditional, Thanksgiving Eggs Rolls and Hot Pockets are a fun (and delicious!) way to put leftovers to work. Plus, there’s nothing like a leftovers sandwich stacked with turkey breast, stuffing and cranberry sauce. For you Friends fans, you know we’re talking about a Moist Maker! Check out our full archive of leftovers possibilities.

Freezing Leftovers

How To Freeze Turkey 3

Want to save your leftovers for later? Or thinking ahead for meal prep? Freezing leftover turkey is a great way to keep your leftovers longer and save on the grocery bill down the road. If you are planning to put them on ice, it’s best to freeze the turkey within one day of cooking for optimal texture and taste. Leftover turkey freezes well for up to six months if properly handled, packed and frozen. But we recommend using it within three months for the best results. Check out our step-by-step guide for freezing leftover turkey.

Pro Tip: Use a permanent marker to label a freezer-proof bag or container with the kind of turkey you are freezing (dark meat, sliced, cubed) and the date.

The holiday meal doesn’t have to break the bank. Celebrating Thanksgiving is about gratitude and spending time with the special people in your life. We hope these simple steps can help take a little stress off your pocketbook and leave more time for what matters. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

For more information on putting together your Thanksgiving meal, head over to Thanksgiving 101.